IntroductionIn this article, I aim to gain and present an insight on the topic of Ijtihad and its role within Islamic law. The great involvement it has in creating laws and rulings on issues that are not covered by the primary sources, of Quran and Sunnah. I Shall be looking at books of Islamic Jurisprudence, research and further research by listening to lectures that aspire the topic of ijtihad and Usul ul Fiqh. IjtihadThe Arabic word ‘Ijtihad’ in simple term means ‘independent reasoning’. Similarly, within Islamic terms, it is used to describe the process of assembling legal rulings and laws by independent interpretation of the initial sources of Quran and Sunnah. The word is derived from the Arabic verbal root ‘Jahada’ which is translated to “struggle” or ‘effort’, the same root as the word jihad ‘struggle within oneself’ as through deep thought. Ijtihad is a method of legal reasoning that does not rely on the traditional schools of jurisprudence, or ‘Madhabs’. A person who applies ijtihad is called a ‘Mujtahid’, and by tradition has to be a scholar of Islamic law or ‘Alim’. A Person who has a thorough understanding of theology revealed texts, legal theory, a refined capacity for legal reasoning; and a thorough knowledge of Arabic. It is considered as a required religious duty for those qualified to perform it. It should be practiced by means of analogical reasoning (qiyas). Its results must not contradict the Quran and Hadith. In early Islam, ijtihad was a generally used in legal practice and was well integrated with the philosophy of ‘kalam’. It slowly fell out of practice for several reasons, most distinctly the efforts of the Asharite theologians, who saw it as leading to errors of over-confidence in judgment.The role of ijtihad The basic role of ijtihad is to work with accordance to Quran and Sunnah as studied in depth one gets connected to the character and nature of the Quranic rules and law and thereafter he is able to derive rulings from the text that are not so apparent to a layperson. Ijtihad used correctly leads one to be capable of giving verdicts. Verdicts that later become part of the Islamic law and must be followed by Muslims. Ijtihad has a great impact on Islam and Muslims.Is ijtihad permitted for a ‘layman’? Jurists qualified for conditions of Ijtihad can only do Ijtihad. What should a layman do if he does not find clear instructions in Quran and Hadith regarding any issue? A Person that has not made a study of law and religion is concerned to follow the guidance of the learned, and it will be sufficient to release his conscience if he consults and acts upon the opinion of the man most noted for his religious learning. The importance of learning ijtihad Ijtihad is Islamic science, a science of rules. Method, which helps one in making solutions for problematic situations, and gives him a position to give a verdict based on an issue that is not already covered by the holy Quran and the Sunnah. Within time, things have changed and we have different issues that arise which are not covered by the previous generation so much that they would not have even imagined most of the matter that has occurred now. Modern issues that have to be looked upon by scientist of Islam (mujtahid), to figure out ideal solution, of course in mind of the Quran and Sunnah and the previous rulings and prohibition. By the 4th Century, (AH) ijtihad and the resulting Hukms (commands) had become well documented amongst the four main Madhabs (schools of thought). Some scholars were concerned by the fact that almost anybody was able to do ijtihad without any checks or balances. One of the primary factors that contributed towards the closing of the doors of ijtihad was an increasing neglect of the Arabic language. The Arabic language is the medium by which revelation becomes accessible, neglecting it, therefore, would result in an inability to derive laws from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Islam would not be able to be applied without this. As a result, the doors of ijtihad began to close, and the doors of taqleed (imitation) opened. At one point, ijtihad became impossible, and as a result, new issues and circumstances were left out without knowing the Islamic views on them. Without ijtihad, the Hukm Shari’ would not be able to address new problems. As a result, many Muslims began to believe that Islam was becoming outdated. Some actually began to look to the Kufr civilisation for answers to new issues. This is the reason why and how important it is to learn ijtihad and to become a great mujtihad for the benefit of the Muslim ummah, for the accurate guidance.What makes one qualified to be a mujtahid Mujtihad is a person who is expert in ijtihad. The Mujtahid must be a Muslim of sound mind who has attained a high level of intellectual capability.Since the text of the Qur?an and Sunnah was revealed in the Arabic language, Ijtihad can only be performed based on the Arabic text. One must have knowledge of the Arabic language to the extent that it enables a correct understanding of the Qur?an and the Sunnah. He must also be able to comprehend the sources accurately and deduce the rule from them. He should know enough by which he can understand the circumstances of the Arabs, the current customary usage in their speech such that he can distinguish the textual indications (Dalaalat al-alfaaz).The Mujtahid also needs to be knowledgeable of the Quran, the Makki and Madani contents of the Qur?an, the occasion of their revelation (Asbab al Nuzul) and must have a full grasp of the legal contents of the Qur?an, but not significantly of the narratives and stories of the Qur?an and its passages relating to the Hereafter. The knowledge of the Ayat ul Ahkam (verses regarding rules) includes knowledge of the related commentaries (Tafsir) with special reference to the Sunnah and the views of the Sahabah (ra) related to the subject at hand. The Mujtahid must possess an sufficient knowledge of the Sunnah, especially the part relating to his Ijtihad and be familiar with the rulings in the Sunnah. The Mujtahid must also know the occurrence of abrogation in the Sunnah and the reliability of the narrators of Hadith. He must have knowledge of Usul al-Fiqh so that he will be familiar with the procedures for extracting the rulings from the text and the implications.The Mujtahid should be aware of the opinions of different Mujtahideen if any exist. It is essential for a Mujtahid to be familiar with the Daleels of other Mujtahideen, on a particular issue as for how the other Mujtahid understood the Daleel and the issue. Finally, he must have a comprehensive knowledge of the issue on which Ijtihad is being performed. To extract any ruling one has to understand the subject thoroughly. If the Mujtahid does not understand an issue, he is not allowed to do Ijtihad regardless of where he lives. Therefore, these criteria are enough to qualify one to do Ijtihad, and it is incorrect to say that each issue requires the Mujtahid to reside in that environment.Different opinion of ijtihad within Muslims Ijtihad, the dynamic principle of Islamic Law, helps to keep law ever fresh and capable of facing the challenges of new places and times. There are different opinions of ijtihad among the Muslims within them self, in the approach of qualifying to be mujtihad differs slightly with the Shia and Sunni sect. In the early Muslim community, every qualified jurist had the right to exercise such original thinking, mainly ra’y( personal judgment) and qiyas (analogical reasoning), and those who did so were termed mujtahids. But with the law schools (madhhabs) the ?Abbasids (reigned 750–1258), the Sunnis (the majority branch of Islam) held at the end of the 3rd century AH that the “gates of ijtihad” were closed and that no scholar could ever again qualify as a mujtahid. All following generations of jurists were considered bound to taqlid, the unquestioned acceptance of their great predecessor as the honorable. The Sh??ites (the minority branch) never followed the Sunnis in this respect and still recognize their leading jurists as mujtahids, Modern issues that require attention of ijtihad Ijtihad in modern times occurs in three forms: through governmental legislation; in the form of fatwas (legal opinions) and judicial decisions by Islamic judges or fatwa committees; and through scholarly writings. Modern society often presents a more challenging prospect for ijtihad compared to its medieval counterpart when issues pertaining to marriage, divorce, property, and inheritance, for example, were more predictable due to the slower pace of social change. The unprecedented diversity and scope of knowledge today make it impossible for any one person to obtain the knowledge of all the developments relevant to ijtihad. Hence, it becomes necessary to turn ijtihad into a consultative process that utilises the skills not only of jurists of Islamic law but also of experts in other disciplines with vital importance to society, such as science, technology, economics, and medicine. In addition to addressing some of society’s needs, collective ijtihad may also build a greater spirit of unity and consensus among Muslims. There is a great need now for unity on issues that could be addressed more effectively through ‘collective’ ijtihad and legislation. Issues that call for attention include leadership, methods of succession, democracy, accountable governance and a resolute rejection of dictatorship. Although the twentieth century witnessed the introduction of reformist legislation on family law and women’s rights, the degree of progress varied from country to country and there remains considerable scope for innovative ijtihad on many issues. Moreover, terrorism by individuals and states and the widespread abuse of jihad all call for fresh ijtihad-oriented and consensus-based solutions. Constitutional rights and liberties, particularly in relation to freedom of religion and freedom of expression, as well as the status of non-Muslims living in Muslim majority countries, also present new challenges that require imaginative ijtihad. A purely secular approach to these issues often fails to engage public support in Muslim societies. Conclusion One of the principal reasons for the failure of Muslims to reconcile Islam and modernity is that the process of ijtihad was closed several centuries ago. However, the sacred texts of Islam need to be interpreted in the light of contemporary realities and modern knowledge. For ijtihad to be performed successfully in a society, democracy and freedom of expression must predominate. While scholars of Islamic law clearly have very important roles to play in the strengthened practice of ijtihad. Faithfulness to the text needs to be combined with creative imagination to produce the most enlightened reinterpretations, suitable for the twenty-first century. Ijtihad is a great way of bringing thoughts and reasoning together, it gives an opportunity to people to express their feeling towards an issue, and bringing it forward and having a solution for it rather overlooking it especially when the matter effects the widespread of the Islamic community. Without ijtihad they would be neglected and obscure about the rules and regulations that are set by the religion do not integrate with the modern issues.